If you thought the Sunni-Shia split was all there was which put Muslims against Muslims, you would have found out otherwise today from David White.  With no actual leader, such as Catholics have with the Pope, the many teachers of the Muslim faith have had no universal guideline policy maker figurehead in centuries.  There are many split off factions all within the single Muslim faith which regard one another as liberal, conservative, faithful, less observant, incorrect, improper, etc.  The flavors and ideas of a large faith such as this grow over so many years and the Western world is no more equipped to control this that those within the faith are in control.

However, to better understand the issues of the Middle-East and many other parts of the world, one should gain some knowledge about the historical forces and current politics which helped create such strong held divisions among people who might otherwise often appear to be people of the same ethnicity and general backgrounds.  We had a month’s worth of knowledge handed to us in a very understandable way by an expert who is truly familiar with the people, their history, their faith and politics.  Such a taste just wants to make you have a little more.  If you didn’t attend, maybe next time.

Thank you David, we were educated and intrigued by what you had to say.




Peter Heck along with his wife, Jane, both shared their stories of making their way in life as writers, reporters, editors and photographers.  They have made the transition to the on-line dissemination of news from the times when the press meant a local paper, printed right in Chestertown.  Luck, talent, persistence, whimsy and flexibility all allowed them to find their way to the current job they share as Co-Editors of the Chestertown Spy.  Few can survive being a one trick pony when you are a writer.  It makes a good tale to see how one thing led to another and eventually to having a life they obviously love in the area of Chestertown.    Maybe we can get Peter to come back to entertain us with his musical talents at a future date.

We encourage readers and attendees of CBG to subscribe and support the Chestertown, Spy.  Here is a link to the subscription page:




Photo courtesy of Steve Atkinson

Dan Divilio gave us an informative recounting of his work history and what he brings to the job of Editor at our local newspaper.  He gave us insight on his approach to be objective and honest while not tainting the information provided to the public with a personal agenda.  In the files and archives are records dating back into the 1800’s at the paper’s offices.  Although not digitized, they can be accessed for research purposes and it sounds like a treasure of old historical importance.

We gave Mr. Divilio a good seed of an idea to help get the information and opinions of politicians without seeming to imply bias.  Allowing citizens to submit questions for local politicos to respond to would be welcomed by many folks in the readership.  He thought it might be something that would fit well with the paper and is even handed approach.

Keeping our small town and regional paper available and viable makes for good topic in changing times and changing technology.  Thankfully, there appears to be a market for printed news in the region and we have a good guy running the show along with an ownership that feels an obligation to keep small town papers alive and working.



20170608 CBG Marc Castelli - 4724

We went through a year on the waters of the Chesapeake in photos showing the close relationship Marc has to a declining number of watermen on the Chesapeake Bay.  He is a definitely the waterman’s advocate when it comes to working through the sticky issues seeking to regulate and preserve resources while not completely destroying a way of life and a valuable, traditional business of our local region.  There are many problems, many regulations, and few proven solutions.  Some things cannot be “fixed” by regulations, some things can be improved with better governance and some other things might be just as good or even better if left in the control of nature and free enterprise.  Finding the perfect balance is a great goal, but Marc tells how it has turned out over many years while still not finding a truly best outcome that fits the situation  with complete satisfaction.

There were excellent photos of the working men on the water, the nets, tongs and traps, the fish, crabs and oysters, how the watermen do their work, the sunrises and sunsets, the storms and the sunny days.  Some of these photos lead to the work Marc Castelli creates on canvas, but many of these photos are works of art themselves.  Those in attendance were educated and entertained for over an hour and a half.

Marc has promised to give us a list of several, young, local, struggling artists who need and deserve some community support.  CBG will publish this information when we get it from him.  We have offered to set up a display or show on our website or a link to such a show or display, if it is offered to us.  Maybe we can have one or more of these artists present at a morning meeting to attendees.  We were excited by the possibilities and hope to see some good things arise rom the suggestion.



Stephen Gasparovic is a HUD Certified Housing Counselor  working for Cecil County and the State of Maryland to advise citizens who are first time home buyers, families facing foreclosure procedures or families considering a reverse mortgage.  We kept mostly to the reverse mortgage issue which is complex enough for more than one CBG meeting.  The program runs under the FHA and there are quite of few differences between a reverse mortgage and a regular mortgage.   While I won’t attempt a meaningful explanation in 50 words or less, it is a lecture and discussion which is full of valuable information and advice on choices in the program and the alternatives to the program.

A reverse mortgage has both benefits and pitfalls.  There are some high up front costs, but mostly made up for at the end of the mortgage when the home eventually is sold to pay off the loan.  For certain, don’t apply for a reverse mortgage without the counseling that is being offered.  You should always understand  the paperwork of such things BEFORE you sign up and this is definitely one of those things which needs deeper understanding rather than impulsive action.

There apparently is no entity in Kent County equivalent to the Cecil County housing counseling activity, but Mr. Gaparovic will see people from Kent County too.  All they need to do is contact him and it can be arranged.  Thanks for the enlightening talk on this timely subject.

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